Peter once told me that I should be ready for days like this. My work at PCMC entails such readiness for death. As a volunteer for the hospice, I take care of kids with various life threatening illness. It's not an easy task but it's a task I've come to love. I wish I could just follow Peter's advice before. But how does one prepare for losing someone you've learned to love?Sine June I've been doing my internship at PCMC. There I started a tutorial program for a group of cancer patients who had to stop schooling because of their treatment. One of my kids there was Adam. He had Leukemia.
At 3pm today I got a call from Eileen- Adam died today at PCMC. He was only 12. His life cut short by a disease that he could even barely understand.
I cried after Eileen's call. I felt so sad. Adam was just a kid. And just last thursday he was okay. We worked on his science assignment and did some exercise on reasoning. He was a bit dizzy because of his chemo but he tried his best. It was always like that with Chemo. I was not worried because Adam was such a fighter. When he got tired he asked me if he could just continue his assignment at home. Tomorrow we were even supposed to do the muscular system together and afterwards the brain.
I used to fear teaching kids. But Adam and the rest of my pcmc family taught me to love it. I intentionally did not want to handle kids in school because I wasn't the entertainer type of teacher. But Adam and his classmates were patient with me. Funny how I was supposed to be the one teaching them yet I ended up learning from them.
I have fond memories of Adam but the fondest was when he shared his wish with me several months ago. He wanted to go home to Bicol. He wanted to go back to school and eat his favorite veggies. They were a poor family, at times they barely had anything to eat. But they were happy. He spoke of how his mom and grandmother would sell vegetables in the market so that they could have food to eat. He was an intelligent kid. Despite his condition, he wanted to learn. He used to be the top of his class and he looked forward to going back when he was better.
Adam will finally get his wish to go home. I wished it was under good circumstances. Not like this.
During days like these I find myself asking why God can be cruel at times. I know it is bad and he has his reasons. But Adam was just 12. He deserved a longer life. He deserved a life. I wish I could make sense of his wisdom. How does one explain to a mother that his beloved son is dead? And how do we explain to our other tutees tomorrow that their beloved kuya is gone?
Maybe I will never be really prepared for losing someone I love. I don't think I'll ever be what Peter told me once I should be when it comes to handling these sick kids. They are not only patients of mine because more than just being patients they are my friends. And saying goodbye to friends will never be easy.
How do you say goodbye to a friend... I don't know. All I know is that when you lose a friend, life will never be the same again.